NEW YORK (December 3, 2015) — As an organization representing more than 2.8 million Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) today released the following statement on Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s announcement that all positions in the U.S. military, including ground combat positions, will be open to women in 30 days:
“This is a historic day for America and IAVA applauds this groundbreaking decision,” said IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff. “Today’s change is good for our military and for our country. It’s a historic step toward true equality that will strengthen our military, our national defense and the very fabric of our country. Nearly 280,000 women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2014. Women warriors make up 20 percent of IAVA’s membership and 35 percent of our leadership roles nationwide. We’ve seen what women can do on the front lines of our movement. Now, the world will see what women can do in every role of combat. Today, every little girl in America is one step closer to being able to fulfill her dream of truly being able to be anything she wants to be.”
“In IAVA’s most recent member survey, 70 percent of female IAVA members believe women’s careers in the military are limited by restrictions on women in combat. We believe today’s announcement will shatter the glass ceilings that has held back women in the military. This is why IAVA is fighting to fully support and recognize women, the fastest growing population the veteran community,” Rieckhoff concluded.
IAVA continues to fight for improved services for women veterans as part of its Policy Agenda. For example, IAVA has also called for the establishment of maternity leave policies across all military branches that match the July 2, 2015 announcement by the Navy Secretary that women serving in the Navy and Marine Corps will have 18 weeks of maternity leave to use in the first year of her child’s life.
- IAVA’s top four policy priorities are:
Continuing to Combat Suicide Among Troops and Veterans;
- Fully Recognizing and Improving Services for Women Veterans;
- Reforming the Government for Today’s Veterans; and,
- Defending Veteran and Military Education Benefits.
Additional items in the 11-point plan include ending veteran homelessness, supporting innovative healthcare solutions, supporting military families, and promoting equality for all troops and veterans.
Note to media: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.